Social Enterprise Summit Academic Forum: What is Next in Social Enterprise?

Social Enterprise Summit Academic Forum: What is Next in Social Enterprise?
A Conference ReportProfessor Richard Hazenberg,
Institute for Social Innovation and Impact, University of Northampton, UK
Yanto Chandra, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Tristan Ace, Global Partnerships Lead Social Enterprise, British Council
Jan 2019


The Social Enterprise Summit (SES) was founded by the Hong Kong Policy Research Foundation in 2008, with the specific aim of promoting social entrepreneurship and social innovation as key drivers of positive social change in society. Management of the conference was transferred in 2014 to the Hong Kong Social Entrepreneurship Forum. Now in its 11th year, the 2018 Summit, held on 22nd – 24th November 2018, saw an interactive Academic Forum held on Day 3, that sought to explore key issues facing social entrepreneurship research both currently and moving forwards. This forum, involving key scholars from the UK, US, Australia, China and Hong Kong, took the form of panel discussions, interactive Q&A sessions with the audience, alongside more traditional conference presentations. The panel discussions pitted the scholars into an adversarial (albeit collegiate) debate that explored whether social entrepreneurship was the solution to global social problems (or not), with the audience being asked to vote with their feet by moving from one side of the room to the other depending upon which side of the argument they agree with. The aim of the Academic Forum was to therefore explore the key issues facing social entrepreneurship from a research perspective, but also to then apply these to a practice and policy setting.

This report forms part of a wider research project titled the ‘Building Research Innovation for Community Knowledge and Sustainability’ (BRICKS) project in Hong Kong. The project provides an innovative and impactful approach to supporting the higher education sector in Hong Kong, by supporting students, teachers and early-career researchers to develop the skills that they need to be socially innovative leaders, and to co-create social innovation cultures within the sector.

The report has been developed through analysis of the SES Academic Forum video that captured the event, as well as analysis of the written materials submitted to the conference (PowerPoint presentations) from the presenters. In addition, a literature review of social entrepreneurship research has been conducted involving academic journal papers, conference papers, books and grey literature (i.e. policy documents) where relevant. This analysis has been triangulated to identify five key themes, namely: Definitions and Hybridity; Globalisation and Ecosystems; Institutions and Policy; Partnerships and Collaborations; and Social Impact Measurement. These will be discussed in turn through this report in relation to understanding where social entrepreneurship research needs to progress in each area moving forwards. The report also includes a section where prominent journals in the field are detailed, including their impact factors and H-Indexes, so as to provide some guidance to researchers looking to engage with the academic literature. The findings from the paper clearly demonstrate the richness of the research field surrounding social entrepreneurship, but also point to the need for greater clarity around concepts, deeper collaboration in research (both multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary), and policy/institutional frameworks to support social entrepreneurship.

Full report (this content is currently available in English only)